Before the game, I went to my local drug store and picked myself up a nice bottle of ginger kombucha as a treat. It was honestly way better than I expected, and was the perfect mix of sweet and sour in this bubbly mess that made me feel like I was doing something positive for my gut health. After downing the whole thing during the pre-game, I had a massive burp that might have cancelled out that positive feeling.
Anyway, this is a metaphor for the Philadelphia Flyers game tonight.
Throughout all three periods, there was a sense of purpose. This general feeling of a path towards something good — and not only would the end result be benificial, but the entire journey had notes of Good Process. And in the end, they decided to throw that all away with the New York Islanders tying the game with less than four minutes remaining, and to force us into watching the longest shootout of the NHL season so far (I’m not kidding) after a chaotic overtime.
The Flyers weren’t even able to get comfortable before the Islanders got on the board. Maybe one single shot on goal, and some seconds with possession in the offensive zone; but the visitors simply went up the ice, led by Mat Barzal, who dipsy-doodled his way through some poor Philadelphia defenders, laid the puck over to a completely wide-open rookie blueliner in Robin Salo, who was — of course — able to net his first NHL goal.
Robin Salo: WELCOME TO THE NATIONAL! What a shot! pic.twitter.com/Ou33Hwf9Af— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) January 19, 2022
It isn’t just as simple as a player scoring their first career goal against the Flyers, but it’s really feeling like a kicking them while they’re down right now. Despite the team being able to physically put the puck into the back of the net, off a Joel Farabee rebound clean-up as he shoved it past Semyon Varlamov backhand, it was eventually called offside after a video review. Everything is so goddamn terrible that they’re just giving us some joy and swiftly yanking it away.
But all the wallowing could not take away the fact that the Flyers eventually earned a power play and quickly converted, tying the game at one with just over five minutes left in the first period.
James van Riemsdyk, in true fashion, was able to pot his 10th of the season off a Cam York point shot that banged off the back boards, through the goaltender’s legs, only for the goalscorer to put the puck back through.
Maybe the equalizing goal was just reminding them that they can actually attempt to play some sort of offense, but the Flyers, honestly, and I’m not lying here, looked good! It’s wild, I know. But they were getting their own scoring chances, but just with no finish — Connor Bunnaman fell over Varlamov attempting to finish at the front of the net, a couple shots were blocked by the Islanders in-tight.
If you could have an up-and-down period of hockey, that was truly it. The Flyers didn’t wait for any intermission to try and come out of some proverbial gate to play well, but a switch was turned. They even had more shot attempts, scoring chances, and all those fun offensive numbers; than the Islanders did in the first 20 minutes.
And I hate to break it to everyone that wants to complain — but there was nothing really to complain about this game in the second period either. Everything seemed to click, and whether that’s taking advantage of the two grandfatherly Isles blueliners named Zdeno Chara and Andy Greene, no one can be sure, but the Flyers looked damn good! At one point — aided by a power play — they had a 20-10 shot on goal advantage. And, of course, that was all for naught.
Being able to have solid process and put it on display for the first time in quite a while, is the reason why the Flyers were never just able to lay down and take it from the visiting team. Josh Bailey made it 2-1 just over halfway through this game, and just 26 seconds later, Travis Konecny was able to score a Flyers equalizer, their second of the game.
It might not have been pretty, or anything that will show up more than once, but Konecny was able to score his seventh of the season off of some hard work done by his linemates Scott Laughton and Oskar Lindblom.
I straight up don’t know how this team was able to change their ways so quickly, but they simply did. After losing in an extremely stupid forgettable way to the same team less than 24 hours before puck drop, the Flyers were able to punish the Islanders for making them continue their losing streak.
Continuing their second period positive motion, it was seemingly the Flyers’ game to lose even though they didn’t actual own the lead yet. The scoring chances were numerous and Carter Hart was playing well enough that you could imagine the whole game going Philadelphia’s way. Giroux then of course, was able to score a beauty.
Is it depressing to see Claude Giroux carry his Flyers to another point for possibly one of the last time? It sure is! We’ll try to enjoy it nevertheless.
Giroux not only scored the necessary goal to push them past regulation, earned an assist on the Flyers’ first, and was a general menace in the offensive zone, but he was just seemingly everywhere. The majority of the strong plays made by the home team, was either started by or needed the captain to be a key connecting piece. God, it’s going to suck ass to watch this team without him — not to be extremely negative and down in the dumps after the Flyers played their first Good Hockey Game in a very long time.
Almost like a mirror of the first period and its pair of goals, this Flyers goal spawned a complete swarm for the Islanders as they were able to get the better of the chances in the final minutes of regulation. The writing was on the wall, considering this is the Philadelphia Flyers we’re talking about; and the visiting team tied it up and forced overtime on a weird bounce.
crash the net and good things happen!— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) January 19, 2022
Cizikas ties it up at 3! pic.twitter.com/4u1V0aiNhg
It was so damn predictable.
Less than five minutes left and the Flyers’ opponent was able to force the extra period.
The only reason this game even went to a shootout (eventually) is Carter Hart. He was doing everything in his power to withstand any and all 3-on-3 scoring chances for the opponents — making diving attempts, stretching his pads across the mouth of the goal, being aggressive enough to turn the result of this game into a skills competition.
This one needed a shootout, and not just any normal shootout that lasts three rounds, but one that is stretched out beyond belief. A shootout that gave us enough time to contemplate what we’re doing watching Gerry Mayhew skate up the ice and shoot it well wide of the net. A shootout that just needed to end; and eventually, Oliver Wahlstrom did that.
Flyers lost this one. Whatever.